Urban Threads – Gear Threads

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Gear Threads Is The Mr X Stitch Machine Embroidery Column - Presented By Urban Threads!

Niamh & Karline - Your Gear Threads Hosts from Urban Threads

Urban Threads‘ evil genius Niamh and ringmaster Karline bring you Gear Threads — a monthly showcase of innovative machine embroidery, digitized and otherwise. When they’re not blogging here, they’re busy working with a team of talented artists to create offbeat and awesome designs for Urban Threads and generally shake up the embroidery world.


How long have you been involved in the world of stitch?

For only about 6 years! I discovered it through an art internship during college. Before that my background was mostly in illustration and design, but the world of embroidery has really opened my eyes to a new medium and a new way to work.

What is your favourite thing about stitchery?
Oh, as an artist I really love some of the strengths it has over other mediums. It is in some ways still unexpected to work in stitches, and so there is always some measure of delight from a new audience. It rides that line and challenges people to rethink art vs. craft. I also really love the dimensionality that you can bring to the work, in a way that no other medium can. It’s not totally 2D, and there’s so much you can do with that!

What do you make of the modern craft scene?
I am totally in love with this new craft and DIY revival. So much of it is about reinvention of tradition. It’s fantastic, because you have both the rediscovery of fantastic mediums long ago relegated to “craft,” mixed with modern styles, statements and purposes. It’s accessible to everyone and for that reason the places it goes can be endless.

Do you have any unusual talents we might not know about?
Hmm … well, I’ve studied 6 different martial arts thus far and I’m pretty rad at thumb wars.


How long have you been involved in the world of stitch?
Since I could be trusted with a big plastic needle, I suppose. My mom and grandma were both at some point professionally crafty ladies too, and I grew up learning how to make things. That kind of by-the-book knowledge is a nice tool to have, but by nature I tend to figure things out as I go along anyway. I’ve been with Urban Threads for nearly five years, since almost the very beginning, and it’s been amazing to see how it’s grown and evolved. And I’m always dabbling in some new creative endeavor on the side — sewing, knitting, needle tatting, perhaps some x-stitching.

What is your favourite thing about stitchery?
The thrill of making something that’s absolutely unique in the world. Even if I’m using a pattern that I didn’t invent, even if it’s one I’ve used a dozen times before (I know what I like, OK?) — choosing the perfect fiber and color and size and details and putting it all together with my own hands and creating a gift for someone I love, that just wouldn’t have come into the world any other way. There’s such value in that, beyond anything you could go out and buy.

What do you make of the modern craft scene?
It’s fascinating to watch — the cultures and identities that emerge and splinter off into new ones, the never-ending discussions of what makes Legitimate Art, and what, if anything, that has to do with Craft. I’m glad there are so many people out there who are committed to shaking things up. I love it best when it’s inclusive and celebratory. Personally, I’m the sort who thinks hand-knitting a nice warm hat, even if the hat’s not making a shocking statement, is something that matters and makes the world a little different and better. I love craft that exists primarily to Make a Statement too — especially the good ol’ mix of traditional medium with unexpected message. The sort that makes you do a double take.

Do you have any unusual talents we might not know about?
If you’re lucky I might bake you a fancy birthday cake. Also, I’ll interpret your dreams, though whether that’s lucky or involves any talent is for you to say.


Urban Threads - Unique and Awesome Machine Embroidery DesignsGear Threads is brought to you from the offbeat gals at Urban Threads. Created by illustrator Niamh O’Connor, Urban Threads is revolutionizing machine embroidery one edgy, elegant, innovative, and/or offbeat design at a time. Discover the future of digital stitchery at www.urbanthreads.com.

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